(2019-01-29) Strolling in Snowstorms
A conversation goes way off the rails.

Snow this deep doesn't bother Katherine. She's been living in Calaveras long enough that it's just another day. She's made some calls to deal with the logistics, and is now standing in her kitchen, cooking. The only difference this morning is that things are being banged around. Omelets are being made, but she's chopping her veggies like they offered her a personal insult. She is dressed for warmth, a pale green wide-necked sweater over a tank top, paired with black leggings that are tucked into a pair of slippers that look a bit like fur-lined booties. She turns to look at the coffee maker, sets down her sharp knife and moves to pour herself a cup, dropping two squares of dark chocolate in it. Her eyes turn to gaze out the back door, watching the thick flakes drift to the ground as she takes a drink.

Sam has seen snow. But, even heavy snow falls in New York seem to have a different feel to them than here in the mountains. This was really a different experience and it was just going and going. He steps into the kitchen looking like he and the snow had a long involved conversation - his cheeks are red from the cold and his hair is wet, a few flakes can still be seen melting on him. He was wearing jeans, but they were a distinctly darker shade from his knees to his feet - those feet which don't have socks on right now. The rest of him seems no more worse for the wear since it was protected by his jacket, (a sharp red sweater with a white undershirt beneath). "That is something out there." He says upon padding into the room and catching sight of Kate punishing the vegetables - and perhaps the aggression makes him pause to ask before he swoops into her space. "Morning, Kate. Mind if I get a coffee?"

"There …is something out there?" Katherine turns her gaze on Sam, and for a moment she looks a bit lost. "Snow, there is snow out there." She sets down her coffee cup making a sharp sound before she pulls out another mug, filling it. She sets it on the counter and goes quiet for a moment. "Omelet?" She turns her head toward Sam, and the smile she offers him is tinged with something else. A spark of anger, before she goes back to chopping her veggies. "You can have mushrooms, tomato, green pepper and onion in it, or any combination of those things. It looks like she already has made some bacon, and there is bread cut for toast. "Have oatmeal too." A man, heavily bundled knocks briefly on the back doors, offers Kate a thumbs up and a grin before he takes off down a path that he either shoveled or snowblowered.

"A lot of snow." Sam agrees. "I just meant - well, that's what I meant. My brain is still a bit frozen." He settles himself down on one of the stools and takes the coffee that was poured for him, bringing it to his lips for a small sip and keeping his hands around it to see that they get warmer. "An omelet would be great. Thank you. Toss a bit of everything in if it's being chopped anyway." He lets silence linger in the room for a few moments while taking a very careful interest in his coffee mug before looking back up to watch Kate. "What's wrong, Kate?" He asks, making it blunt enough.

"If you end up staying in Calaveras, you'll get used to it Sam. We get at least two of these blasters a year." Katherine shrugs, picking up her coffee to drink from it. "Sometimes more, depending on our luck." She moves to the stove, setting a pan on the fire. A tiny knob of butter follows before she cracks two eggs, scrambling them in the pan. "Had a ..difficult night last night. On one hand, I learned something new - which is always fun. On the other hand, I'll never learn anything important, which makes me want to throw things." She slants a look at Sam, smirking slightly. "Don't worry. I throw things in my head, don't worry about things flying at you all willy nilly." She picks up veggies. A half handful of this, a pinch of that, some more of these, and then dusts the entire thing with salt and pepper. "Honesty is very important to me, and ..it just.." She presses her lips together, carefully folding the omelet in half. She puts two pieces of toast in the toaster and puts bacon on a plate. "I just don't understand how someone can share so little and expect so much. That's what it is at the bottom of it." She pulls the toast when it pops up, carefully slathered butter on it and then adds the omelet to the plate. She sets it in front of Sam and gives him a fork. "Bon Appetite."

"Honesty is hard." Sam agrees quietly with remarkably unhelpful insight. He watches Kate prepare the plate and deliver it to him at the counter, inclining his head. "Thank you. It looks delicious." He takes up his fork and knife, having warmed his fingers enough to have some feeling back while his dark eyes lift back up to watch Kate in the kitchen. "You say you'll never learn anything important?" He asks. "I'm not sure I entirely understand. You mean that you're only learning surface level bits and pieces but nothing substantial?" Metal touches down on his plate and he begins to cut his breakfast into reasonably sized pieces while waiting for that clarification.

Kate takes her coffee, retreating to the counter against the wall. She gazes at Sam across the island before she hoists herself up to sit. "Exactly what you said. Imagine sitting down to dinner with someone and finding out they have these hobbies that you never knew about. They have these things that they can make and do, they fly helicopters.." She shrugs her shoulders, taking a sip of her coffee. "You never know these things until someone else shares them." She sets her coffee down. "Or better yet, when you do ask questions, you're not allowed to know the answers or they just simply don't get answered." She still has a mild look on her face, hands cradling her coffee. "Anyway..bad subject. Tell me how you've been. If you were warm somewhere, why did you brave the snow to come up here?"

"Some things take some time to come out. I learn new things about people I consider close all the time. But, I get the impression that it's not so much that things take time to come out as it is that they never really come out." Sam says, more restating what Kate's saying than offering any kind of advice. "I would throw things as well. I don't think I'd handle it with any degree of grace. I'd be frustrated and angry and hurt. I'd want to know why someone I was close to was so reluctant to be close to me." His eyes linger on Kate across from him for a few seconds and then he looks down toward his breakfast and takes a bite, the time it takes him to chew and swallow the time needed to shift the subject. "I've been really good. And I was holed up at Layla's hotel yesterday for the entire day while the storm was hitting, which was a lovely place to be trapped. But, my work things are setup upstairs and given the forecast didn't show any end in sight I thought I'd better brave the weather." He glances out the window and adds - "I don't have a car here, so it wasn't so different than any day. Just a lot of deep snow to stomp through."

Kate won't comment on Sam's first words, though by the way her fingers grip her coffee cup, she might want to. "Well Sam, next time you'll want to call your destination before you set out. That way, after an hour, they can send out a search party. There are plenty of people who walk through weather like this who don't make it to where they're going." She takes a sip from her coffee and lets out a soft sigh. "I'm one to talk, I was in the studio at five in the morning, and instead of calling for a ride like I was told to do, I walked my happy ass home." She gestures to Sam, lifting a finger from her cup to do so. "I have snow pants though, so I arrived home without wet jeans." She crosses her legs and gazes down at the dark liquid in her cup. "I have some old snow suits from when my Dad used to come outside and play with us, it's just sitting in a storage container. You're welcome to it." She gives Sam a brief look, and then shrugs. "Up to you."

"You're sure?" Sam asks at the offer of the old snow suits. "I know they're not being used - but - yeah, if you're alright with it." He lifts his coffee for a sip while he studies Kate's expression in search for some indication that it might not really be alright. "I brought warm clothing when I came here. A good jacket, scarves, gloves, hat. I thought I'd be pretty well set for my purposes. But, yeah, that's pretty wild out there. I guess if I'm still here for another winter I'll make sure I'm better prepared." His attention drifts back to his breakfast for a couple seconds and when the talk of snow suits is resolved he asks - "How did you feel about the second episode? Now that you've had a day away from it."

"I'm sure. No sense in it sitting in a storage container ..doing nothing." Kate smiles wanly at Sam, kicking her feet back and forth slowly. "This is the fun of being in the mountains. It has it's moments, and ..you get used to it, or you try to." She looks thoughtful, a hand brushing her bangs away from her face. "I wasn't completely happy with it. I kind of liked the questions bit, but I think rapid fire works better. Perhaps we can rapid fire at one person per show, maybe the guest, and the rest of us can discuss after the fact. I don't know. I feel like there is a better way to go about it." She shifts, uncrossing her legs so she can cross them again. "There also wasn't as much…I don't know, it felt like a lack of openness. Could have just been me though."

"I agree about the guest. I was chatting with Layla and we both were thinking that doing a better job making the guest a focus would be good for the show. I thought the three of us had gotten comfortable on the first show and just rolled back into that again without bringing the guest along with us? If that makes any sense." Sam replies, still taking bites of his breakfast between his thoughts. He pushes hand up through his hair, which is at least starting to dry before looking back over toward Kate. "I'm not sure if I felt a lack of openness. Do you have any particular moments you're thinking about or just a gut feeling?"

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink, Sam. Sending them the questions in advance will only engender a fake answer. Or the answer they think we want to hear. I don't even like discussing it with you and August, unless I'm fishing for ideas." Kate frowns, her fingers tapping on her cup. "We're engaging people, and some people just don't mesh well with that. So if they are already hesitant about things, they're not going to open up. You could see it in Claire's face that she wasn't sure, and it translated on camera." She takes a sip from her coffee. "We can make the guest more of a focus, and I think that's important since they will only be around for that one show, but if they're not willing to open up and trust us a little bit, making them a focus and having it fall flat means that we need to retape something. Then it comes out of the producer's pockets."

"I think we're on the right track. It's not going to work for every guest, but I think we need to give them a chance to engage. The three of us are just going to get more comfortable with each other during the show and that can be a daunting to step into. I know what you're saying - if they aren't willing to trust and open up you have to keep the show lively. But, early on we might be better served with some more direct engagement. Going out of our way to address the guests point and try to get them feeling like they're really a part of the conversation." Sam takes another bite, thinking over Kate's words and his own before washing it down with another sip of coffee and gesturing toward her with his fork. "We'll figure out the balance. It was our first try with a guest. It changes the dynamic."

Kate goes quiet, and after a few moments her expression clears and she simply gazes at Sam, a slight smile on her face. "I watched the playback. I winced a few times. I don't think that Claire is the right fit for a show like this, and after the edits, she's gonna get lost in this episode. Happens sometimes." She shrugs and slips down from the counter so she can clean up her kitchen. "We'll see what the executive producer thinks, and go from there. I only can offer up my own two cents and try to spin it positively."

Sam's fork pushes around his plate, the frown on his lips evident. He takes his last bite and chews it slowly, setting down his flatware and leaning back a bit on the stool. "I haven't seen it, so I'm working from a position of ignorance. I think our guests will all bring unique perspectives on the topics. I think we're responsible for making sure that voice gets heard. In the moment I thought Claire had things to say about the topics and afterwards I thought we could have done better exploring her voice." He takes up his mug again, his brow still furrowed. "I trust your opinion on the final product. I just don't want us to make the same mistakes again for the next one."

Kate takes a deep breath, both hands resting on the counter, her fingers tapping idly as she considers Sam's words. "Claire did have things to say, and she said them. She came into this hesitant, and if you can't work in the moment and make an attempt to engage — it's not our job to pull things from someone. This is a forum where you have to offer your opinion, trying to draw something out of someone looks like we're fishing for certain answers. Like I said, I don't think that someone like Claire is a good fit for a show like this. I hoped that I was wrong, and that she'd open up more, but she didn't. It happens." She picks up her coffee, drinking from it. "You had no problem making your voice heard, and I'm sure you noticed that we never had to make an attempt to explore you for you to do it."

"I agree with that. Some people are better suited for this show - any show - than others. Some people take naturally to the spot light and feel comfortable. Some are more willing to make themselves heard above the crowd. Totally agree. I felt comfortable and ready to contribute and I'm glad the three of us seemed to find pretty easy chemistry. And I also agree that we can't be on camera trying to drag answers out of someone. I think what I'm suggesting is more subtle than that, and maybe it will just come naturally. It might be something as simple as letting the guest get the first word in on the topics? Because that first answer tends to set a mood." Sam looks across at Kate, watching her. "Or as you suggest, letting them have the first run at the speed round. Just a little something more." A brief pause and he adds - "And my feelings are just that, feelings. I have no industry experience nor is it my show. I'm listening to you and trust what you're saying, even if I'm being aggravating."

"You know.." Kate starts putting pots and pans in her sink, a neutral expression on her face. "..I don't know Claire any better after this show than I did before I invited her on it. That right there is the basis of my opinion." She turns on the water, adding soap. "How do you think it might have went if we asked a question, paused and then put her right in the cross hairs and spotlight? Would we have gotten a different answer? I doubt it." She tosses in a sponge and lets out a deep exhale. "The only thing that I do know, is that having significant others on the set while we're trying to film is not going to work. As nice as it was to have a studio audience of sorts, it really added nothing to the dynamic and it actually kind of took away from it." She taps her foot as she waits for the water to get high enough. "Any suggestion is one that should be explored, and I'll consider everything you said here. If anyone else has an opinion they want to offer, they're welcome to, but I doubt anyone other than you will speak up."

Sam nods, not delving any more deeply into the specifics. It's clear that what he has said was heard. He does chuckle quietly at the mention of significant others on the set. "Yeah, we shouldn't likely do that again. I suggested inviting Layla because I thought she'd like to see it and you'd said after the first episode that she'd be welcome to come watch. I didn't realize I was opening the door for everyone to come along. I'm all for having no audience going forward." He agrees. Then he turns a more open smile across toward Kate. "In other, less important news - I finished the book you recommended last week. I really enjoyed it. I'm not going to continuing into the rest of the series right way, but it's now officially on the reading queue."

"Mmm.." Kate is scrubbing a pan, her sleeves rolled up, a thoughtful look on her face. "I'm glad that you enjoyed the book. I wasn't quite as fond of the rest of the series as I was of the first one, so.." She trails off and then pulls her hands free of the water, shaking them off before she glances toward Sam. "I have a question." She says, reaching for a hand towel so that she can get the suds off of her hands and wrists.

"Why did I have to hear, from someone else, that I might have customers avoid my place of business because of something that nobody discussed with me?" Kate leans a hip against the sink, arms slowly folding over her chest. "I have a telephone, and I am pretty easily found. To hear that talk like that happened in a public place, where it could be overheard by potential customers was not only slightly distressing, it kind of felt insulting. If I had a problem, until I discussed it with the person I have an issue with in particular, I wouldn't go around letting everyone else know about it first."

Sam's lips twist at her words, but he doesn't say anything until she's finished saying her bit. "I told you and apologized on the couch the other day that I went about dealing with this in a shitty way. I listed off exactly who I told and that I was going to make sure I talked to each of them to explain that it was a misunderstanding. I didn't stand on a table and announce it to the entire room, I would highly doubt that anyone other than those who were actually at the table would have noticed." He draws in a sharp breath and tries once more - "I was freaked out. I talked to friends. It came out at the shop because August asked if I had been sleeping well and I fucking well hadn't. I was on edge. And I just. Yeah. So." He fixes his eyes on Kate again - "Those are my reasons but they're not excuses. I'm sorry I dealt poorly with the situation. I'm doing everything I can to mend any damage to you. That was never my intent." He says the words and they sound sincere, but the tension in his body is hard to miss.

Outside, there's the sound of hesitant, nay, surgically careful steps crunching through the snow on the ground. The snowblower dude has been through, but it's still snowing, so things happen, snow re-sticks, and piles up like it's the end of the world (dramatics, because Floridian, ok). "Fucksocks." That's loud enough to be heard from inside. It's also very clearly August's voice. When she opens the door and steps into the kitchen from the back, there's snow in her lashes and in her hair, though with the pale color, it's hard to see.

August Lexington steps in shivering, wearing a fluffy black coat with faux fur, a black, fitted 3/4 sleeve sweater that covers her up to the base of her throat, skinny jeans, and a pair of high heeled ankle boots. She walks in somewhere in the middle of Sam's reply, hesitating with her hand on the doorknob. Auggie pulls the door shut behind her, pulls off her coat, and drops it on the back of a chair at the table.

"True, anyone who was at the table at the time, but hearing that a concierge service that I didn't yet agree to go into business with might advise.." Kate takes a deep breath, waving it away before she turns back to the sink. "You know what, never mind. Lesson learned." She goes back to her dishes, washing and rinsing with a little more force than necessary. She glances to the door briefly when August walks in, exhaling slowly before she goes back to washing with a little more care than she used just moments ago.

"And she has since been told the entire situation. It was put there by you, who had rightful access to my room and it had a note that would have explained it. It was a misunderstanding." Sam cuts a gaze over toward August and shakes his head. "I'm owning up to the fact that I should have handled it better. But, I still feel like somehow everything thinks I'm in the wrong for how I reacted to a fucking decapitated stuffed animal that was left in my bed in my locked bedroom." He really doesn't raise his voice, but his tone remains sharp, which is in stark contrast to his usual easy tones. He slides down off his stool, bare feet plopping onto the floor.

"Oh, is this about Layla's vociferous opinion in the coffee shop the other day?" August's smirk is short lived, but present for a couple of beats. "I wasn't awake enough for that." She turns from the table and makes her way to the cabinet to find a glass, fill it with some water, and shake out a couple of gel caps from a prescription bottle. She pops them into her mouth, grudgingly swallows with several mouthfuls of water. "… No you have every right to be wigged." She turns from the sink and rubs her hands over her arms, wandering over to the counter, long legs eating up the distance rapidly, even at a casual stroll. She leans in next to Sam, elbow hooked over the counter. "Hey. You have every right to feel how you feel." Her grey-eyed gaze seeks his. "And so does Katie." There's a pause, like she's going to say something else, but she ultimately closes her mouth.

"Correct me if I'm wrong…" Kate says, not wilting in the face of Sam's sharp tone, her brows furrowed slightly. "..but how you handled anything was not even remotely mentioned in my just previous statement." She holds up her hand, going quiet briefly as August speaks, sighing softly. "I would never consider negatively impacting someones place of business without all the information. That's all. Not even as a passing statement that I might or might not act on later." She exhales a sharp breath and gestures to Sam. "I told you the other day that I understood what you felt, and I offered to compensate you for it. I donated that money to charity, but I still think I might need to refund your stay. Regardless on if you accept it or not, I'm not taking any more of your money from this day forward." She turns back to her dishes, picking up a pan to wash. "I also apologize for my being sharp, but I didn't have a good night and today is looking to be more of the fucking same, and I am sick of burying how I feel so that other people don't get inconvenienced."

Sam's eyes flare and his lips open - and then he clamps his mouth shut. He draws in two long breathes and then steps away from August at the counter. The way he pushes back the words is almost visible, crushing them down somewhere that they can't escape from. "I'll be gone in a couple days and you won't have to worry about it." His tone is much quieter now and he turns to walk toward the door. "Thank you for breakfast, Kate. Bye August. I need to get some work done." And he continues on his path without another glance back.

There's a long moment of silence from August, while she's looking at Sam's blue eyes. There's a shift in her posture, very slight, before she glances over to look at Kate. And then she looks at Kate for a while, quiet, leaned in next to Sam at the counter. She watches her for a moment. But then Sam's pushing away from the counter and making a retreat. Her lips part, she takes a short breath, then straightens from her lean. She rests a hand behind her on the edge of the counter, elbow canted, and glances between the other two. "Well, fuck."

Kate turns off the water, turning to gaze at August. She is clearly just managing to hold whatever is going on in her head together. She takes a deep breath and blinks away some tears. "Think I'm gonna be on the rag soon." She mutters, abandoning the dishes for the moment. She rubs both hands over her face, leaving a few stray suds in her hair. "Sorry. I lost my temper and I shouldn't have, and you shouldn't have had to walk in on that."

"The shit Layla said was out of bounds, especially in public, and it sounded rehearsed to me. Whatever her problem is, she should come to you with it. Sam's trapped in the middle and clearly that's… I don't know. I don't feel like for his girl it's about the horse head. Maybe it is. For him, he probably feels embarrassed a bit. My pranks usually end in hilarious beer drenching and prank wars, not…" August shifts off the counter again, blowing out a breath. She runs her hands through her hair, fingers combing it back. "Girl, that argument was so low key I barely noticed you were having it." She smiles a bit. "I'm kidding, I know you're upset, I'm sorry. What's going on?" She moves over to the sink where Kate stands, pulling her into a lingering, tight hug.

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